Wantage residents air frustrations about Lake Neepaulin assessment

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  • Photo by Vera Olinski Thomas Jable, chairman of Friends of Lake Neepaulin, speaks at a recent Township Commiteel meeting.

  • Photo by Vera Olinski Wantage resident Scott Thomas speaks at a recent Township Committee meeting.

WANTAGE — The sound of the gavel pounded, urging all to come to order, as tense feelings flew back and forth in words at the Wantage Committee meeting on Thursday, Jan. 30.

Around 10 constituents aired their frustration to the Wantage Committee, some speaking more than once, about the special assessment they will have to pay in the near future toward the Department of Environmental Protection loan regarding the Friends of Lake Neepaulin Dam.

Scott Thomas said he had been fishing at the Lake Neepaulin with his son when he was told to get off the lake.

"If you are paying an assessment, you should be able to use the lake, just like anybody else," Thomas said.

Thomas Jable, chairman of FOLN, said the Board of Trustees was having preliminary discussions about allowing people who are paying the special assessment to have some sort of access to the lake. He said it would probably not be complete access, but possibly days or times in a month.

Others said that there are two hydrants on the lake where the fire department conducts fire drills, thus, making the area’s insurance lower.

Kathy Gorman countered that when she checked with her insurance agent, the fire hydrants did not make her insurance lower. Gorman would be part of the Tier Three special assessment, which would pay the least of the three tiers in a special assessment ordinance the Township Committee is expected to vote on at its Feb. 13 meeting.

Other residents also asked what would happen if FOLNN defaults on 10 percent of its loan.

Mayor William DeBoer said if there is a default on the loan, the lake will become property of the township’s taxpayers.

Councilman Ronald Bassani said many of the FOLN decisions were made in court and by previous committee members.

Now, the committee is carrying out court orders to an agreement.

Bassani acknowledged the residents’ frustration. The committee has the “same frustration," but the committee does not have the ability or flexibility to change anything at this time.

"If you are paying an assessment, you should be able to use the lake, just like anybody else."
Wantage resident Scott Thomas

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